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Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is well-known for inducing vaccine-enhanced respiratory disease after vaccination of young children with formalin-inactivated RSV (FI-RSV) in alum formulation. Here, we investigated alum adjuvant effects on protection and disease after FIRSV immunization with or without alum in comparison with live RSV reinfections. Despite viral clearance, live RSV reinfections caused weight loss and substantial pulmonary inflammation probably due to high levels of RSV specific IFN-γ+IL4-, IFN-γ-TNF-α+, IFN-γ+ TNF-α- effector CD4 and CD8 T cells. Alum adjuvant significantly improved protection as evidenced by effective viral clearance compared to unadjuvanted FI-RSV. However, in contrast to unadjuvanted FI-RSV, alum-adjuvanted FI-RSV (FI-RSV-A) induced severe vaccine- enhanced RSV disease including weight loss, eosinophilia, and lung histopathology. Alum adjuvant in the FI-RSV-A was found to be mainly responsible for inducing high levels of RSV-specific IFN-γ-IL4+, IFN-γ-TNF-α+ CD4+ T cells, and proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-4 as well as B220+ plasmacytoid and CD4+ dendritic cells, and inhibiting the induction of IFN-γ+CD8 T cells. This study suggests that alum adjuvant in FI-RSV vaccines increases immunogenicity and viral clearance but also induces atypical T helper CD4+ T cells and multiple inflammatory dendritic cell subsets responsible for vaccine-enhanced severe RSV disease.


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PLoS ONE 10(10): e0139916.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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